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NSA Director Profited Off AT&T Spying

General Keith B. Alexander in service uniform.jpg

Former NSA Director Keith Alexander

Yet even more fallout from former NSA Director Keith Alexander’s financial disclosures. Alexander’s investments have already become a matter of controversy when it seemed as though he was trading on inside information related to opaque commodity markets heavily influenced by Russia and China.

Now it appears that Alexander made investments in a company largely dependent on business with AT&T and Apple. Alexander invested in Synchronoss Technologies Inc. which was involved in connecting iPhones to AT&T’s network back when Apple had an exclusive agreement with AT&T regarding the iPhone. During that same time the NSA also had an exclusive agreement of sorts with AT&T – having the company provide the NSA illegal information on their customers.

The program was eventually stopped but not before the NSA got a lot of information.

In 2008, Alexander bought and sold tens of thousands of dollars in stock in a company called Synchronoss Technologies Inc., based in Bridgewater Township, N.J., according to the retired Army general’s financial-disclosure forms. You’ve probably never heard of Synchronoss, but, like the NSA, it probably knows who you are. If you’ve ever activated a new iPhone or synced your personal information across multiple devices—such as your phone, and your home and office computer—there’s a chance that Synchronoss’s technology helped make it happen… Back when Alexander was an investor, Synchronoss was providing the technology that activated and “locked” all new Apple iPhones onto AT&T’s network. The carrier was then the exclusive voice and data service provider for the popular new iPhone, so Alexander stood to profit every time someone bought an iPhone and automatically became an AT&T customer.

The NSA also had its own special relationship with AT&T. Under secret court orders, the agency was then hoovering up the phone records of AT&T’s subscribers and pouring them into a database of who called whom in the United States, stretching back several years. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the NSA also had secretly installed communications surveillance equipment in some of AT&T’s offices, under orders from President George W. Bush. AT&T is arguably the most important source of communications for the NSA’s eavesdroppers because the company owns and operates a huge portion of the United States mobile, landline, and Internet infrastructure.

If anyone was in a position to know that Synchronoss was in a good business it was the head of the NSA who had access to the data flow that showed the iPhone becoming a cultural phenomenon as more and more people utilized Synchronoss’ technology after buying the iPhone to connect to AT&T’s network. How is that not insider trading again?

The NSA initially refused to provide journalist Jason Leopold any information regarding former NSA Director Alexander’s financial disclosures citing “national security.” After being successfully sued under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) the NSA provided some documents and claimed Alexander had no conflicts of interest.

CommunityThe Bullpen

NSA Director Profited Off ATT Spying

General Keith B. Alexander in service uniform.jpg

Former NSA Director Keith Alexander

Yet even more fallout from former NSA Director Keith Alexander’s financial disclosures. Alexander’s investments have already become a matter of controversy when it seemed as though he was trading on inside information related to opaque commodity markets heavily influenced by Russia and China.

Now it appears that Alexander made investments in a company largely dependent on business with AT&T and Apple. Alexander invested in Synchronoss Technologies Inc. which was involved in connecting iPhones to AT&T’s network back when Apple had an exclusive agreement with AT&T regarding the iPhone. During that same time the NSA also had an exclusive agreement of sorts with AT&T – having the company provide the NSA illegal information on their customers.

The program was eventually stopped but not before the NSA got a lot of information.

In 2008, Alexander bought and sold tens of thousands of dollars in stock in a company called Synchronoss Technologies Inc., based in Bridgewater Township, N.J., according to the retired Army general’s financial-disclosure forms. You’ve probably never heard of Synchronoss, but, like the NSA, it probably knows who you are. If you’ve ever activated a new iPhone or synced your personal information across multiple devices—such as your phone, and your home and office computer—there’s a chance that Synchronoss’s technology helped make it happen… Back when Alexander was an investor, Synchronoss was providing the technology that activated and “locked” all new Apple iPhones onto AT&T’s network. The carrier was then the exclusive voice and data service provider for the popular new iPhone, so Alexander stood to profit every time someone bought an iPhone and automatically became an AT&T customer.

The NSA also had its own special relationship with AT&T. Under secret court orders, the agency was then hoovering up the phone records of AT&T’s subscribers and pouring them into a database of who called whom in the United States, stretching back several years. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the NSA also had secretly installed communications surveillance equipment in some of AT&T’s offices, under orders from President George W. Bush. AT&T is arguably the most important source of communications for the NSA’s eavesdroppers because the company owns and operates a huge portion of the United States mobile, landline, and Internet infrastructure.

If anyone was in a position to know that Synchronoss was in a good business it was the head of the NSA who had access to the data flow that showed the iPhone becoming a cultural phenomenon as more and more people utilized Synchronoss’ technology after buying the iPhone to connect to AT&T’s network. How is that not insider trading again?

The NSA initially refused to provide journalist Jason Leopold any information regarding former NSA Director Alexander’s financial disclosures citing “national security.” After being successfully sued under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) the NSA provided some documents and claimed Alexander had no conflicts of interest.

Photo from NSA under public domain.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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